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Time is a critical business resource. When it is managed effectively, productivity and efficiency improve, and employees feel engaged and appreciated. On the other hand, if time is mismanaged, tasks are duplicated or overlooked. Unfortunately, this often leads to a loss of morale.
The good news is that the latest timekeeping and scheduling solutions give small and medium-sized businesses access to the kind of technology that was once reserved for Fortune 500 companies, and they save employers money as well as time. This guide examines the benefits of using technology to track time and attendance, and it could even help you to find a solution that will give your business a competitive edge.
Companies have always paid close attention to time and attendance because employees who are not paid correctly do not stay loyal for very long. Additionally, complex wage and hour laws have made tracking this information even more important. Employers that fall afoul of these rules can face heavy fines even if they make innocent mistakes, and sanctions are sometimes imposed retroactively. That means that companies of all sizes have a real incentive to track time and attendance accurately, but mistakes are still worryingly common. According IRS estimates, about 33% of small businesses pay billions of penalties each year because of simple payroll errors.
There was a time when employees would sign in each day before starting their shifts, but attendance sheets became obsolete almost overnight when time clocks were introduced. These are still manual systems as they require workers to punch in, but the latest solutions track attendance automatically. Entry points can now be fitted with devices that use Bluetooth or NFC technology to log workers as they arrive or leave, which ensures accurate timekeeping and prevents fraud.
The tools and applications that your business relies on should all work together seamlessly. Before you choose a time tracking solution, you should make sure that it is compatible with the systems and software you already have in place. Time tracking software often comes bundled with payroll solutions, but it should also work with billing software, customer relationship management programs and planning applications.
If you track time and attendance carefully, you will only pay your employees for the hours they actually work. You could also use the technology to ensure that your clients receive the services they expect and are billed accurately for any work performed. The latest timekeeping solutions could help you to avoid payroll mistakes that can leave valued workers feeling cheated, and they could uncover inefficient workflows that are holding your company back.
Nobody likes to work with somebody looking over their shoulder, so time management software should be as unobtrusive as possible. This is especially true when employees work remotely. Remote employees should know that their work is being monitored by the system, but they should not be asked to check in at regular intervals just to prove that they are working. Horizon Payroll Solutions is committed to transparency, and we make sure that your workers always know what kind of data is gathered and tracked.
A good time and attendance solution should help employees to manage their time more effectively, and it should also make sure that common tasks are not overlooked when client bills are drawn up. When researchers studied account executives at professional services firms, they noticed that only 40% of them kept track of the more than two hours they spent each day answering emails. Failing to add in this time costs employers an average of $52,500 per employee per year.
An effective time management system can improve the bottom line by highlighting areas where efficiency can be improved and money saved. Workflow analysis features could reveal overstaffing that is draining your company of valuable resources and keeping track of productivity could reveal underappreciated employees who contribute a great deal but do not draw a lot of attention to themselves. Timekeeping software will also tell you which tools your workers use daily, which could help you to identify and cancel costly applications and services that few people actually use.
The modern workplace is constantly evolving, and many employees now work in the field or from home. Keeping track of the hours worked by remote employees would be impossible with a traditional punch card system, but a cloud-based solution makes it easy. When remote workers want to report for duty or sign off for the day, all they have to do is use a connected device to access the cloud.
Preparing pricing estimates can be a delicate process when there are several unknowns to consider. Time tracking systems can take the worry out of creating project estimates because they provide instant access to data about similar projects. They can also be used to prevent what is known as planning fallacy. This is the term used to describe the tendency that many people have to underestimate the amount of time it will take them to complete tasks.
For employers and employees alike, our automated timekeeping and scheduling solutions save time, reduce errors and redundancy. It's easy to set up and use and it is integrated seamlessly with your payroll software.
The consequences of not tracking time and attendance can be severe. Employees who are not paid correctly can become angry and quit, and they can also initiate lawsuits and file grievances with state and local authorities. A well-designed time management system can prevent these problems, and it can also help your business in several other ways.
If you want your business to be more productive, you can either hire additional workers or get more out of the employees you already have. You could ask your administrative staff to spend several hours each week tracking hours and pay manually, or you could automate the process and free them from these repetitive and monotonous chores. Automation also eliminates mistakes, which improves productivity even further.
When hours are tracked with clocks and timecards, workers who plan to arrive late, leave early or take some unauthorized time off can ask a colleague to punch them in or out. This is called buddy punching, and experts say that it costs American employers almost $400 million every year. Eliminating timecards makes buddy punching impossible, which means these systems can sometimes pay for themselves in time theft savings alone.
Looming deadlines pile even more pressure onto employees who may already be working under a great deal of stress. We usually find ourselves in these situations because tasks we thought would be easy took us a lot of time to complete, which is exactly the kind of mistake that time management solutions are designed to help you avoid. When projects run into unexpected snags, the software adjusts timelines automatically to keep things moving and prevent panic as deadline day approaches.
Horizon's vast library of payroll and HR resources serves to help business owners get the most out of their workforce while providing a healthy and supportive work environment.
Wage and hour laws are strictly enforced, so all employers subject to these regulations should track time and attendance accurately. A cloud-based electronic system takes care of this automatically to avoid regulatory issues and take the stress out of pay days. These systems can also pay for themselves by keeping workforces energized, providing valuable insights and eliminating errors.
Your time tracking solution should do a lot more than tell you when your workers clock in and out. It should also provide you with insight into how they spend their time while on the job and identify areas where efficiency can be improved. The system you choose should be easy to use and flexible, and you should look for a provider that understands the challenges entrepreneurs face and offers solutions that can be tailored to meet their needs.
Moving simple and repetitive tasks to the virtual realm reduces expenditure on office supplies and allows managers and administrators to concentrate on more important work. According to the American Payroll Association, it takes a payroll clerk about six minutes to manually audit and total a single timecard. An automated system completes this basic task in a matter of seconds. Switching over to this system could save a company of 50 employees at least 65 hours or more each year, depending on the frequency of the pay period.
We all make mistakes from time to time no matter how hard we try to avoid them. When workers forget to punch in or out or payroll managers make mistakes, paychecks are inaccurate, and the ensuing disputes can become heated. When things have calmed down, the mistake must be corrected, and a new check issued. This wastes more time and valuable resources, but these problems can be all but eliminated by an automated time and attendance system.
Business owners make important decisions almost every day. When those decisions contend with staffing levels or productivity, a time and attendance system can provide important information and useful insights. If preliminary data suggests that understaffing is causing an issue, a time management solution could dig a little deeper and reveal further training would solve the problem more effectively than additional workers.
Employees are happiest when they feel appreciated and find their work challenging. Time tracking allows employers to analyze workflow patterns and identify bottlenecks, which can eliminate drudgery, boredom and wasted time. Automated systems can also reveal how productive each team member is when they are on the clock. Employers can then use this information to identify and reward top performers and provide training to workers who are struggling.
All employers are expected to track the hours worked by their employees, and they go about this in several ways. Some traditional businesses still use time sheets that are completed by hand, but most large companies employ more sophisticated methods. These methods range from time clocks that allow workers to punch in or out to electronic systems with biometric features that track employees automatically. Let’s take a closer look at these different approaches to assess their pros and cons.
Using a pen to log hours on a paper time sheet may conjure up images of a Dickensian counting house, but this is still the way things are done in some businesses. Time sheets are often used in professional settings to both calculate pay and compile client bills, but they have several drawbacks. This is a laborious system that cannot be automated, and the information found on time sheets must be entered manually before it can be used by any computer programs. Deciphering the handwriting on time sheets can also be challenging, which can lead to mistakes and payroll disputes.
Punch clocks have been the preferred way to track worker hours for more than a century, but they are rapidly being replaced by electronic systems with more features. Time clocks are very good at keeping track of when workers arrive and leave, but they are simple machines that cannot tell who is actually punching in or out. Punch clocks make employers susceptible to time theft, but they remain a popular solution in the construction sector and other industries where workers do not always have access to computers.
This approach is basically an electronic alternative to a time sheet. Employees are still expected to keep track of their own hours, but they maintain their records on spreadsheets instead of pieces of paper. This makes it easier to send the information and eliminates problems caused by poor handwriting, but it does not do much to address other time sheet limitations. There are no checks and balances to prevent employees from padding their hours and moving from a pen and paper to a spreadsheet does not eliminate human errors.
The latest software solutions bring tracking time and attendance into the information age. Employees can check their hours in real time using a computer or connected mobile device, and managers and supervisors tasked with creating schedules can check sick leave, vacation requests and accrued paid time off for each employee. Punching in and out is done electronically to prevent time theft, and discrete cameras can be placed at entry points to improve security even further.
Time clocks that use biometric identifiers like fingerprints or facial features have become extremely popular in recent years because they provide the last word in time theft prevention, but they are distrusted by many workers and are not legal in every state. Employees react more favorably when biometric time clocks do not feel intrusive, so Horizon uses devices that are touchless and work in seconds even if workers are wearing masks.
Technology has leveled the business playing field, and small and medium-sized companies can now compete with global behemoths. Horizon Payroll Solutions has helped hundreds of companies to seize new opportunities and become more efficient, and we deliver our solutions with a personal touch. If you want to cut costs, eliminate mistakes and stay on the right side of the Fair Labor Standards Act, our trusted time and attendance solutions could be just what you are looking for.
Data that is stored digitally is easier to analyze and share, and information only has to be entered into a computer system once when business tools work together. Horizon understands this, which is why we strive to ensure that all our solutions will integrate seamlessly with your existing IT infrastructure.
If you want to take the hassle out of calculating payroll and are ready to make time and attendance headaches a thing of the past, our team of dedicated industry professionals is standing by to assist you. You can call us on (888) 434-8244 or use our online form to ask us a question. Additionally, you can request a free sales quote.
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